• Cypress Bay High School - Weston, FL
  • January 18, 2020


Ever since senior Nicole Velasco had to pay for her own expenses and gas, she said she has had first-hand experiences with what adult life is like. To afford to pay for these expenses, she said she works at Cinnabon in Broward Mall. However, in addition to her responsibilities, she said she has to make sure to maintain her grade point average, so she is on track to graduate high school.

“It is really exciting working at Cinnabon because of all my coworkers and the new environment,” Velasco said. “It’s hard to manage going back and forth between school because sometimes I have to sign out of fourth and eighth period to make it to work on time.”

As a senior, Velasco said her workload has been difficult to manage, but through her job at Cinnabon, she said she has learned essential life skills, including time management. According to Velasco, before she had a job, she would spend most of her time sleeping in or hanging out with her friends. With her job, Velasco said she’s learned how to prioritize.

“Now that I have a job, [working at Cinnabon] is a major responsibility,” Velasco said. “I have to put the job and my school work first, otherwise, I won’t graduate, which is the main goal of high school.”

According to Velasco, her job simulates what life after high school will be like since her job involves constantly working and managing her life.

“[My job at Cinnabon] has taught me to be independent, especially because I hate when people try to pay for my things,” Velasco said. “I now know that I am able to hold my own, especially with all of the time I have put into working.”

Like Velasco, junior Emma Smith said she has been working at Robin Lewis Insurance Company since last summer. Since Smith is a teenager at the insurance company, she said she mainly does clerical work and scans files to upload onto the company’s computer database.

“Having this job [at Robin Lewis Insurance Company] definitely makes me feel more independent because in the office I have my own desk and [I don’t feel like] just a teenager,” Smith said. “[The job teaches] me lessons that I know will be valuable when I am eventually on my own, especially with the responsibility of paying taxes.”

Due to her salary, Smith said she must pay taxes. She said paying taxes makes her feel accomplished because she feels more connected to adult life, knowing paying taxes is a responsibility every grown-up with a job has to complete.

“Most people my age would hate paying taxes, but I don’t really mind,” Smith said. “I know [the money] goes toward things like insurance [and] social security. [These responsibilities are] civic duties so I am happy to comply.”

Even though she has to pay taxes like any adult, Smith said her parents are constantly reminding her to finish her taxes on time.

“I was scared about the deadline [for the taxes] because my parents were very adamant about when I had to pay,” Smith said. “Having the responsibility of paying [the taxes] had me worried, but also let me realize how important [paying taxes] really is, and now I will be more prepared for it next year. It was a little frustrating that I couldn’t remember the deadline, but I was thankful for the learning experience.”

According to Smith, working helps her gain financial independence as well as work experience. She said working makes her feel more like a grown-up and prepared for life after graduation.

“Now, I am not longer worried with moving on to the next part of my life,” Smith said. “I am very grateful for the opportunity I was given [at Robin Lewis] and I will not be scared for the future.”

Besides teaching his students, Personal Finance teacher Michael Pappas said he prepares his students for life after graduation with important life skills. He said these skills include tasks such as how to get a good deal when buying a car and how to invest in the stock market.

“[These life skills] are crucial to my students’ lives, especially because most of them will be graduating this year or next,” Pappas said. “I am glad I can give [my students] the opportunity to use the stuff [that] I show them because it is guaranteed to be used in the future.”

Pappas said his senior students tend to see the relevance of his class more than his other students because they are more likely to use the information sooner. He said his class gives students a perspective on what it means to be an adult and what responsibilities grown-ups have.

“The information I teach is stuff that everyone’s parent [must] do that [the students] don’t realize,” Pappas said. “[The lessons] show how students can apply it to their own lives after graduating.”

Much like Pappas’ class, Velasco said her job has taught her basic life skills which will be beneficial in her life. She said having a job and paying her own expenses has shown her what responsibilities she will have in her adult life.

“My job has made me feel more mature and I have gained a lot of knowledge by working with new people,” Velasco said. “I am also gaining a lot of experience that I can use on my resume for after I graduate high school.”